Other than the lingering fear that Jake Peavy would reach back for the ole No. 1, and a short, quick burst of pink mist would shoot out, his arm would crumple at his side, and the Jakemeister himself would slump to the Earth in a heap, there's been only one source of dread at Camelback Ranch this Spring. Only one specter of doom hanging over the otherwise joyous proceedings of the initial gathering of the 2011 White Sox.
It was, that until announced otherwise, Mark Teahen could still win the 3rd base job. Scream again, if it helps.
It seemed absurd to most Sox fans who watched Teahen accumulate a -9.8 UZR, 10 errors, and 2 game-ruiners (A WSO-patented stat) in 51 games at 3rd base in 2010, but Ozzie repeatedly asserted that it would be a 'slap in the face' to just name Morel the starting 3rd baseman based on a couple weeks of solid defense.
Worst of all, he was right.
Teahen may have been Sweeney Todd out there (a butcher...get it? GET
IT?!?!), but 51 games was too little to just write him off without a
chance for a still fairly unproven rookie. I mean, he's still under
contract for two more years to play 3rd base, he merits a look, no?
it's been one frighteningly awful look. Teahen committed two throwing
errors in Monday's 16-16 bizarrathon-tie game with Cleveland, one of
which extended an inning for a three-run homer (in case we needed a
reminder of the consequences of errors). This would be bad enough--and
really, I mean that, this would be bad enough--but it comes in
the wake of the two throwing errors he committed on Saturday. 4 errors
in as many games is a bit much.
Something that sticks with me though, is that these are throwing
errors. Now, Teahen's throwing has never been great, but with his lack
of lateral quickness and dexterity, if he can't utilize his great
upper-body strength to make strong, accurate throws, then he really
seems pretty screwed as a defender. Upper body strength hasn't translated into home run power, so maybe this isn't such a surprise.
So Mark has no shot at the job. Great, right? Wellllllllllll, only if
you thought he ever had a shot anyway; which seemed like a stretch.
He's not going to start, but with his contract, he's not going anywhere,
and neither is Ozzie's desire to get him at-bats. If he could at least
give a hint of playing 3rd, we'd at least have the benefit of getting 250-300 plate appearances of
Teahen-level offense (read: middling) at a premium position, but it appears Ozzie's already losing hope of that:
"I've got to talk to our coaching staff and [GM] Kenny Williams in the
next meeting and see what we're going to do, if we're going to give him
a shot at third base or move him all over the place. That's the next
step, because it's not fair for him or anybody. [It will] clear his
mind--'will I be [at third] or not?' We've got to try to make the
decision as quick as we can and go from there."
Instead, those PA's come at one of the corner outfield spots, specifically in place of Quentin
because Pierre never ever gets benched. Teahen for Quentin is obviously
a weaker bat, but without the defensive relief one expects when they
sub out a player like CQ. And the alternative, where Teahen mans 1st at the expense of one of the lineup's true mashers, seems even
So root for Teahen, if not so he can avoid making the White Sox outfield
worse, so that his value ticks up enough to merit an almost-decent
trade return...or just a trade of any kind. I only warn that I tried
rooting for Teahen last season, and returns can be spotty.
Apparently I missed an entire week of White Sox Mix content, so at the very least read Mike's take on the Thornton signing.
Future Sox looks at the future of the catcher position for the Sox. It's better than you'd think.
Confused? Annoyed? Read my stat primer. It's a fun read...at least as far as stat primers go.